South Africa: Signing could be 12th official language

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Sun Jun 17 15:26:40 UTC 2007


Signing could be 12th official language

By Patrick Cull <hcull at johnnicec.co.za> Political Editor

PARLIAMENT'S joint committee on constitutional review has called for an
investigation of whether South African sign language should become the 12th
official language of the country. In its reports tabled in Parliament
yesterday, the committee says that after meeting with a delegation from Deaf
South Africa in February it agreed that the status quo was both unacceptable
and discriminatory, "as experienced by an appreciable section of our
community". At the same time, it said, it recognised that accommodating sign
language as the 12th official language would have "significant logistical
and budgetary implications, which would have to be investigated".

The committee said it would ask Minister in the Presidency Essop Pahad to
consider convening a task team including Arts and Culture Minister Pallo
Jordan and Education Minister Naledi Pandor to investigate. It also urged
the Pan South African Language Board to put into effect the section of the
Constitution that called for sign language to be promoted. Since 1994 there
have been an increasing number of MPs and delegates in Parliament with
physical challenges and a sign language interpreter is now a permanent
feature in the National Assembly.
http://www.theherald.co.za/herald/news/n09_15062007.htm
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